This Day in Texas History:
Lynching Intensifies Clinton Area Feud
June 20, 1874
On this day in 1874, R. P. “Scrap” Taylor and two others were lynched at Clinton, Texas. The incident was part of the notorious Sutton-Taylor feud, which grew out of violent Reconstruction-era politics.
The Suttons were allied with the Reconstruction authorities, particularly the State Police, while the Taylors opposed them. The family fight began in earnest when Bill Sutton killed William “Buck” Taylor on Christmas Eve 1868.
It subsequently developed into the longest and bloodiest feud in Texas history. The conflict ended with the killing of Jim Taylor and two companions by a Cuero posse on December 27, 1875.
The Suttons, many of whom were peace officers, had things pretty much their own way. Soon, however, they became involved in difficulties that were a byproduct, if not a continuation, of the feud itself.
Several of them were implicated in the murder of Dr. Philip Brassell and his son George at their home near Yorktown on the night of September 19, 1876. This deed aroused the greatest indignation, and Judge Henry Clay Pleasants asked Lt. Jesse Leigh Hall to bring in the rangers.
Eight men were charged with the crime and held for trial. A series of legal maneuvers lasting over twenty years resulted in only one conviction, and that person was eventually pardoned.
Other Reconstruction-era feuds included the Earl-Hasley feud in Bell County and the Lee-Peacock feud in the Grayson-Fannin County area.